BISMARCK-An expert in North Dakota's anti-corporate farming law says Thursday's purchase by Dakota Access LLC of about 6,000 acres of private ranch land surrounding its pipeline route near Standing Rock Sioux Reservation violates the law and should be immediately investigated by the Attorney General's office.
Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company financing the $3.7 billion pipeline that would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states from North Dakota to IL, this week purchased the roughly 9,000 acre Cannon Ball ranch, according to a deed filed with the Morton County Recorder's Office.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a United Nations special envoy for the rights of indigenous people, called for a halt to the pipeline's construction because it's seen as a threat to drinking water supplies and some of the sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Department of Justice, the Army, and the Interior Department jointly announced that construction would be paused on the pipeline near North Dakota's Lake Oahe. The company also says the pipeline will employ advanced technology to ensure safety and reliability.
The pipeline would come within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, which straddles the North and South Dakota border.
A federal judge temporarily allowed construction to continue last week.
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Police in Minot say about five Dakota Access pipeline protesters briefly interrupted North Dakota's top oil regulator at an industry conference.
"It sounds like quite a lot of acreage to purchase for the use of a pipeline, unless they're planning to put up a refinery or something", he said.
Strong opposition to the pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux has generated national news coverage in recent weeks as tribes from throughout the USA have joined forces against the Dakota Access project.
Protesters claim the land contains burial grounds.
Canada is assessing pipeline proposals as the country's energy-rich province Alberta reels from a crash in prices, partly due to insufficient means of moving oil to lucrative worldwide markets.
"We are committed to protecting and respecting the welfare of all workers, the Native American community, local communities where we operate and the long-term integrity of the land and waters in the region", Warren wrote in a press release. Financial terms between ETP and the Meyers do not have to be disclosed under state law because the land has been reclassified from agriculture to industrial, the state Tax Department said.